JOHNSON SPACE CENTER — As support for a proposed spaceport at Ellington Field builds, members of the commercial spaceflight industry and Houston Airport System will meet at Space Center Houston this week to unveil details of the plan.

The system is expected to release conceptual renderings and graphics depicting the look and design of the spaceport. A new logo for the airport also is set to debut.

The Wednesday event will feature keynote speaker and Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz, a proponent of the spaceport. He has said Ellington could obtain a license from the Federal Aviation Administration next year.

The subject should dominate discussion at the annual conference for the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, which is made up of more than 40 businesses and organizations in the commercial space industry.

Its members include Boeing, SpaceX and the Sierra Nevada Corp., which each have partnered with NASA to develop spacecraft to ferry crew and cargo to the International Space Station.

Proponents of an Ellington Airport said the field is uniquely located to launch craft and microsatellites for commercial activities such as space tourism and experimentation. The spaceport also will be used for vehicle construction and design.

Launches from the port would feature reusable vehicles that take off horizontally, rather than vertically.

The FAA has licensed eight commercial spaceports in the U.S. In July, the Houston City Council approved a $718,900 contract authorizing consultants to push for a spaceport license.

It would cost somewhere between $48 million to $122 million to equip Ellington to launch space vehicles, according to a 2012 study conducted by the Houston Airport System.

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5244 or

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